SATURDAY RECIPE: Fresh Spinach with mustard seeds and garlic
This is a very simple spinach dish, adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for green beans. She claims this is a Gujarati preparation but I’d never heard of it or seen it. Either way, it’s delicious and it goes with all kinds of main courses and other vegetables. I’ve made it as part of an Indian meal as well as an accompaniment for grilled and roasted meat, chicken, and fish.
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large bunch fresh spinach
2 tsp. black mustard seeds
5 med. cloves fresh garlic, chopped coarsely
1 dried red pepper (or 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste
Chop the spinach coarsley so that the leaves are cut into smaller pieces (this is not an exact science, you just don’t want full leaves-and-stems). Baby spinach can be cooked as-is. Rinse thoroughly and spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water (or rinse in a colander, just be sure to get any dirt out).
Heat canola oil in a skillet, saucier or other wide pan. Add the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to pop, turn the heat down to medium-low. (Partially cover the pan while the seeds are popping and you’ll make less of a mess.) When the popping slows down, add the red pepper.
Add the garlic. It will brown quickly, so when it’s golden, add the spinach. The water will cause some popping when it meets the hot oil, so be careful. Stir to combine the spinach, oil, seeds, and garlic. Add salt to taste.
Cover the pan, turn heat to low, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until spinach is cooked but still a warm green color. Remove the lid for a minute or two and let any excess water steam off.
Serve. Really, that’s it.
This will serve 3-4 as a side dish. You can double or even triple it for larger crowds.
Note: I don’t think frozen spinach will work because you won’t get the same barely-cooked texture.